Opioid Summit Concludes in Las Vegas - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe Sparks News, Weather, Video

Opioid Summit Concludes in Las Vegas

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Governor Brian Sandoval opened Day Two of his prescription drug abuse summit Thursday, quoting the Vermont Governor's state of the state address, following an opioid crisis in that state.

"Hope is born in such efforts."

The summit was started after an alleged drug ring was busted in Reno. More than 500 people are gathered at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas to come up with the best solutions for dealing with opioid abuse, including Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin.

When organizing this summit, Sandoval says Shumlin was the first phone call he made, and the first "yes" he received.

"We're both losing innocent people to this," said Sandoval.

Shumlin spoke about the rise in death and crime in Vermont due to opioid addiction. He says discussions turned to questions, then solutions.

One solution is a better partnership between government and health care. "We need the docs, the nurses the providers, who are so busy keeping people healthy, to join us in finding ways to limit those prescriptions to only people who are really in chronic pain."

He says the FDA is partially to blame, approving Oxycotin for minors and approving a new opioid drug. "They approved Zohydro, which is Oxycotin on steroids."

"We have got to stop passing out so many pills for minor medical procedures," Shumlin added. "That leads to this crisis, and we're all in this together."

Governor Shumlin also said leaving law enforcement to deal with the problem alone was Vermont's biggest mistake.

Breakout discussions continued Thursday, with both morning and afternoon sessions. There were four tracks: educating prescribers, discussing treatment options and third-party payers, collecting data and sharing information, and criminal justice interventions.

"What I'm trying to do is help everyone in the room try and conceptualize the ways in which the criminal justice system can be modified, so that folks who don't belong inside the criminal justice system are able to receive treatment in the community," said Sandoval.

Most of the recommendations are geared towards prevention, like better education for doctors and limiting the number of pills that can be legally prescribed. There is also the need for more resources to treat addicts.

Another recommendation is to address any privacy concerns the public may have that would get in the way of sharing and tracking prescription medication.

"We will have a number of additional workshops where people can continue this conversation and we will fine tune those recommendations so that we have a good, solid package for the 2017 legislature," said Sandoval.

Chief of Staff Mike Willdan said that the Governor will finish preparing the legislative package int he next 90-120 days.

"This will be one of his key initiatives."

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